Lorraine lives in Devon, not far from the Atlantic Ocean. She has an Honours degree in English & European Literature and, before writing full-time, had a highly-chequered career which included time in the WRAF; eight years of teaching English to 11-18 year olds (during which time she was Head of VIth form English); experience in various areas of the Business world; MD of her own company organising business events and international conferences around the UK; and, latterly, TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language).
Writing in one form or another has been an integral part of her working life since graduation, from educational curriculums, coursework and reports, to PR and a range of marketing material, to speaker profiles and programmes for international conferences, and various consultancy projects. In any breathing space between these commitments, she has always scribbled – a diary, short stories and multiple ideas for novels which she dreamed of making a reality one day.
Lorraine has always believed in the importance of reading for everyone and, especially, young people. She sees it as an invaluable means of not only increasing knowledge, awareness, imagination and sensitivity but also as a wonderful line of escape to other worlds!
Her interests are, primarily, all animals, wildlife and the natural world, then walking, reiki, Baroque music, and Italy. Oh – and she is, of course, a voracious reader!
1 My debut YA novel
Mary Darling sprang from nowhere. I grew up with strays because my mother fed anything and everything that came to her needing food and love. So I learnt the value of the wildlife and animal world very early and realised how much animals are used, abused and exploited by human beings. This became even clearer as I got older and read about the greed and cruelty of humans towards both the small and our larger, iconic animals in terms of poaching for ivory, trophy hunting, bear bile, the dog meat industry, and practices like bullfighting, use of donkeys in cruel and inhuman ways, animals in circuses and many other forms of cruel entertainment for human enjoyment. Then, when I was teaching, I saw how children young and older reacted to animals, what a difference it made (I even , with the permission of the Headmaster, took my dog into the classroom on one or two occasions and saw the difference it made) and, of course, it has been shown many times that animals have a definite therapeutic value in all sorts of areas of health and social need. Yet they are still not respected but used and abused so much and in so many ways.
I’ve always wanted to write, always scribbled odds and ends, ideas for short stories and novels and then, out of the blue came the idea for a novel about all my favourite ingredients, the importance of animals, the power of magic, healing and other gifts that can be used to change the relationship between animals and humans – and the power of young adults, as the adults of tomorrow, to change the world! But they have to know about the challenge first! And so came Mary because the novel is also about loneliness and the goodness inside people, regardless of their appearance or apparent lack of status in this world that is so concerned with superficiality; and Mary is so lonely and alone at the beginning of the novel – and by the end of it, when she has embarked upon her mission, when love and a completely unexpected and genuine friendship have both taken her by surprise, her life is so different!
So it’s essentially a novel about the importance and value of the animal world and the relationship between human beings and animals. But it’s also about other values: about real friendship, love, loyalty, truth, respect and hope. Oh – and the value of dreams!
I have planned two sequels which continue Mary’s battle to save the animal world from cruelty and extinction but I am waiting to see if they are likely to be wanted . . .
2 What do you love about writing?
The freedom to explore, imagine, create and to live in another world. I particularly love the moment in which the characters spring to life and take over the story, I feel it immediately and just let them have their heads!
3 Who inspires you?
An underdog with courage. Anyone who battles against the odds. Power struggles. Eccentrics.
In terms of writers: Paulo Coelho, Tolkien, C S Lewis, Stephen King, Philip Pullman, Eva Ibbotson, Frances Hardinge.
4 Have you read anything lately you’ve just loved?
Two books, completely different in character, one fiction, one non-fiction: Frances Hardinge – (YA) The Lie Tree. This was the Costa Book of the year in 2015 and I found it completely unputdownable. One of the relatively few books that I was reading in bed, well into the early hours. “Brilliant: dark, thrilling, utterly original, ” says Patrick Ness on the cover and I totally agree. I wish I had written it! So different, such a leap of the imagination. I loved it. Yanis Varoufakis - Adults in the Room. As Finance Minister of Greece, Professor Varoufakis attempted to renegotiate his country’s relationship with the EU and this is a compelling account of what goes on in the European corridors of power. It is a weighty book, dense with layers of meaning and has to be read slowly with care if you don’t want to miss any of the nuances of perception as Professor Varoufakis is an extremely interesting, clever and erudite man. I am not a political person and this is not my usual type of reading for relaxation but it was utterly fascinating. It made my mind work really hard especially in the parts dealing with economics and political analysis as neither is my subject, but I was fascinated by Machiavelli in my Italian subsidiary at university and I believe in stretching the mind, so the accounts of political manipulation and chicanery in this were instructive, extraordinary and yet strangely entertaining.
Mary Darling, L M d'Mello's eponymous protagonist, was abandoned on hospital steps at birth and spent most of her early years living in care. Things start to look up for her when she is adopted by Tom and Susan, a caring couple who lost their own daughter in an accident. Tom and Susan do their best to make Mary happy, however school bullies are making her life wretched, until an expected ally emerges. Mary's life is transformed when she discovers that she has unusual and powerful supernatural abilities that she can use to understand and heal animals. She begins a fight to save the animal world from cruelty and extinction, and as her powers mature throughout the books in the trilogy, she must defeat increasingly dangerous enemies, making discoveries about her own abilities along the way. The book ends with Mary discovering that she is to be an animal ambassador and must take on powerful individuals and organisations around the world. L M d'Mello's debut book explores the importance of animal welfare, a subject that is increasingly highlighted by the media as a result of high-profile individuals, including the Duke of Cambridge and Ricky Gervais, speaking out against trophy hunting and poaching. Mary Darling draws from L M d'Mello's own involvement with animal charities, and will appeal to animal welfare organisations. It will be enjoyed by readers aged 12-16 years.